She-Hulk, the latest series to enter the MCU, has finally wrapped on Disney+ after an interesting 9-episode first season. Due to its unconventional storytelling, it is Marvel’s riskiest move to date and sadly they don’t quite manage to pull it off.
The show follows successful district attorney Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), who also happens to be the cousin of the Hulk himself Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). While the pair are on a road trip, they encounter a Sakaaran spaceship that forces their vehicle to crash off the road. Jen rescues Bruce from the wreckage but in doing so his blood cross contaminates with an open wound in her arm, causing her to turn into a Hulk. Bruces takes Jen back to his home and secret laboratory in Mexico, where he teaches her to control her new powers. However, the pair fight when Jen reveals she doesn’t want to be a superhero and instead is returning to her legal career.
Jen returns home and while in court, she’s interrupted by superpowered influencer Titania (Jameela Jamil) bursting through a wall to flee her own trial. Jen transforms to stop Titania, revealing her Hulk self to the world and is dubbed by the world as “She-Hulk”. She loses her job after the case is declared as a mistrial, but is then offered a new position in GLK&H heading up a superhuman law division – the catch being that she must do so as She-Hulk rather than Jen. Agreeing to the job, Jen brings along her best friend and paralegal Nikki (Ginger Gonzaga), discovering that her first case is to represent Emil Blonsky aka the Abomination (Tim Roth) at his parole hearing.
As Jen attempts to navigate her new powers and her new career representing a different superhero case each week, she must also tackle her family and her disappointing love life, along with an underlying threat from an online community wanting to take She-Hulk down and steal her powers.
In the first few episodes, She-Hulk is a breath of fresh air. It’s fun, light-hearted and a genuinely silly and enjoyable show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Tatiana Maslany is superb as Jen, bringing an insane amount of charisma and some wonderful comic moments, and her on-screen chemistry with Mark Ruffalo is great – we just needed more of it. Ginger Gonzala too is a hoot as Nikki and Tim Roth steals the show in every scene that he’s in, it’s truly a revelation to have him back in the MCU and I really hope to see more of him.
The show goes down a rather unconventional route, which is apparently taken straight from the comics, and this is breaking the fourth wall. From the first episode, Jen’s speaking straight to us as the viewers and for the most part, this works really well. It’s a different method for Marvel and while unusual, it makes the show a lot more interesting; to be honest, after the first few episodes, it needs this. The lawyer show that She-Hulk openly declares itself to be is entertaining for a while but by midway through the season it starts to become tired and dull. If it wasn’t for Maslany and the breaking of the fourth wall, it would have become almost unwatchable. It isn’t helped by the fact that the underlying threat and foe implied isn’t particularly interesting or threatening and doesn’t really develop until the latter episodes. The finale doesn’t just break the fourth wall it smashes it, and I was impressed that Marvel have dared to go here although in doing so made me question the entire purpose of the plot.
The final few episodes improve a little, mostly thanks to the introduction of Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) following on from last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, I am slightly concerned about his character as the Daredevil we see here is nothing like the dark, gritty Daredevil we know from the Netflix series, and I really hope that they haven’t Disneyfied him to make a lighter version for the MCU as this would be a huge disappointment. Part of the problem with him as well is that Daredevil’s fight style has gone very over-the-top acrobatic and CGI-heavy, and it seems out of place with his character. Of course, it isn’t helped by the fact that all of the CGI in the show is pretty terrible. She-Hulk especially seems to suffer from very poor CGI to the point where it’s difficult to watch, yet Bruce’s Hulk still looks impeccable. The rest of the CGI and green screen scenes look shoddy and not up to the usual standard that you’d expect from the MCU.
There are some aspects of She-Hulk that are incredibly clever and are buoyed by some fantastic performances from the cast, but sadly it’s spoilt by a lacklustre plot and some rather terrible CGI.
A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!